TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Happy Derby Week

May 5, 1884, Knott County came into existence from Perry County, Breathitt County, Floyd County, and Letcher County.  Named for James Proctor Knott, the 29th governor, Hindman is the county seat.  Other localities include: Pippa Passes, Vicco, (part) Anco, Bath, Bearville, Betty, Breeding Creek, Carrie, Dema, (part) Elic, Elmrock, Emmalena, Fisty, Garner, Handshoe, Hollybush, Indian Grave, Irishmans, Kite, Leburn, Littcarr, Mallie, Mousie, Pine Top, Raven, Ritchie, Sassafras, Soft Shell, Spider, Talcum, Tina, Topmost, Vest, and Wiscoal.  Knott County was the 118th county created and covers 352 square miles.

Map 5 Knott
By David Benbennick

Tuesday, May 5, 1908, Stone Street captured his only stakes win in the 34th Kentucky Derby on a muddy track in 2:15.20, the slowest derby for the 1 ¼ mile distance.  Owners C. E. “Bud” & John W. Hamilton, trainer John W. Hall, and jockey Arthur Pickens completed the winning connections who earned $4,850.  Arthur rests in peace in the Maysville Cemetery.

May 5, 1916, Richmond native David Rowland Francis became the U.S. Ambassador to Russia for one year.

May 5, 1928, Patrolman Thomas D. McNichols, Louisville Police Department, died when his patrol car overturned at Greenwood Avenue and South Western Parkway.

May 5, 1929, Deputy Sheriff Elihu L. Simpson, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, died from an ambush in the Blackmont section of the county while en route to serve a warrant.

May 5, 1931, Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, Special Deputy Daniels and Special Deputy Arthur Lee died in the “Battle of the Evarts.”  The gun battle between local striking miners and “officials” of the Black Mountain Coal Company incurred four deaths, the two mentioned above, one other “official” and one miner.  The 15-minute shootout ended when the Kentucky National Guard stepped in.

On May 5, 1934, New Jersey-bred Cavalcade won the 60th Kentucky Derby for automotive heiress Isabel Dodge Sloan’s Brookmeade Stable.  Jockey Mack Garner finally won on his 13th try.  The trainer, Robert Augustus Smith, won his 1st and only Derby, as did Mrs. Sloan.  The winning time of 2:04 earned $28,175.

May 5, 1951, Count Turf won the 77th Kentucky Derby for owner Jack Joseph Amiel, trainer Sol Rutchick, and jockey Conn McCreary.  Eddie Arcaro, who told Count Turf’s owner his horse didn’t belong in the race, finished 6th aboard the favorite.  The winning time of 2:02 3/5 earned $98,050.

May 5, 1954, Nashua made his debut at Belmont Park, galloping away from a field of maidens to win by three lengths.

May 5, 1956, Needles came from 25 lengths out, through traffic, to win the 82nd Kentucky Derby in 2:02 3/5, the first Florida-bred to do so.  Owners Jack Dudley & Bonnie Heath, jockey David Erb, and trainer Hugh L. Fontaine earned $123,450 for 1st place.  

May 5, 1961, Charles William Boland, 21, died from a head injury after being thrown from his horse, Wyvern, at Fort Erie Race Track.

May 5, 1962, California bred Decidedly won the 88th Kentucky Derby for El Peco Ranch (George A. Pope, Jr.), jockey Bill Hartack, and trainer Horatio Luro in a blazing 2:00 2/5 that set a Derby record.  The winning connections earned $119,650.

May 5, 1966, Army SP4 Machughlen Meece from Drum in Pulaski County died in the Vietnam War.  

May 5, 1968, Army CPL Cortland E. Dennison from Cave City in Barren County, Army SSG Herman G. Goodall from Beaver Dam in Ohio County, and Marine Corps CPL Alvin C. Knight from Elizabethtown in Hardin County died in the Vietnam War.

May 5, 1973, Secretariat won the 99th Kentucky Derby in 1:59 2/5 to earn $155,050 and the track record.

Kentucky Derby Trivia:  Out of 22 Churchill Downs track records, Secretariat’s is the oldest.

May 5, 1979, Lexington bred Spectacular Bid won the 105th Kentucky Derby for Hawksworth Farm, trainer Bud Delp, and jockey Ron Franklin in 2:02 3/5 and earned $228,650.

May 5, 1984, Howard Cosell watched Swale win the 110th Kentucky Derby for Claiborne Farm, Woody Stephens, and Laffit Pincay Jr.  Across the country, 24 tracks received their 1st Triple Crown race via simulcast.

Kentucky Trivia:  For the last 14 years of Woody Stevens’s life, he claimed that he never received his trainer’s trophy for winning the Derby.  Four years after his death, a Churchill employee found the trophy in a dusty box marked “1984 trainer trophy and base.”

May 5, 1990, Unbridled won the 116th Kentucky Derby in emotional fashion as Frances A. Genter and Carl Nafzger cheered Craig Perret past the finish line first.  Mrs. Genter lived her dream, and that of her deceased husband, at 92 years old.  The winning time of 2:02 earned $581,000.

May 5, 1990, someone won the record $5 million Lotto Kentucky.  The previous record was $3.6 million.

May 5, 1994, the Green River Shell Middens Archeological District became a National Historic Landmark and received admission to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  The district is distributed among five counties: Butler, Henderson, McLean, Muhlenberg, and Ohio Counties.

May 5, 2001, Monarchos won the 127th Kentucky Derby for John C. Oxley, John T. Ward, Jr., and Jorge Chavez.  The winning time of 1:59.97, one of the few times the race ran under two minutes, earned $812,000.  Lexington native Tom Hammond overcame a serious illness, just in time, to live his dream of broadcasting the race.  It would be NBC’s first telecast.

May 5, 2007, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II fulfilled a long-held ambition and attended the Kentucky Derby.  On her 5th visit to Kentucky, she witnessed Street Sense win the 133rd Kentucky Derby.  Not sure if winning owner James B. Tafel or trainer Carl Nafzger met the Queen, but Jockey Calvin Borel did two nights later at a White House dinner.  The winning time of 2:02.17 earned $1,450,000.

May 5, 2012, the heirs of Henryk de Kwiatkowski sold Calumet Farm’s 800 acres to Bowling Green native Brad Kelley, the 7th largest landowner in the U.S. 

May 5, 2012, I’ll Have Another won the 138th Kentucky Derby.  The good luck connections of Canadian businessman J. Paul Reddam, Doug O’Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez won their 1st Derby together.  They won again with Nyquist.  A record crowd of 165,307 watched a winning time of 2:01.83 receive $1,459,600.

May 5, 2018, Justify started his journey to the 13th Triple Crown when he captured the 144th Kentucky Derby.  Woodford Reserve sponsored the race for the 1st time.  The owners included: WinStar Farm (Majority Owner), China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and Starlight Racing.  Mike Smith won his 2nd Derby and Bob Baffert his 5th.  The winning time of 2:04.20 earned $1,432,000.

On May 5, 2020, the UK Medical Center asked the federal government for a reimbursement of $6.7 million for a temporary field hospital that never saw a patient.  Like Lexington, Louisville built a multi-million dollar field hospital at the Fairground’s Kentucky Expo Center, which also never saw a patient.

On May 5, 2021, taking advantage of a new Kentucky law, more parents than average requested their child repeat the school year.  Frankfort’s “do-over” law helped children who struggled with virtual learning during the lockdowns.